Ramsey Mortuary Chapels Heritage and Archive Centre
By Jane Yardley – Chair, Friends of Ramsey Mortuary Chapels
I must start with some really big thank you’s this month. Firstly, to Dee and all at the Hospital Charity shop in Ramsey. They have been great supporters of our project ever since we started in 2016 and their kindness and generosity over this time has been outstanding. But now they really have surpassed themselves and given us a donation of £500! All of which will go towards the continued restoration of the chapels. They work so hard and then donate all the proceeds to local charities. What an amazing bunch they are!
When you next visit us, look towards the left hand-side of the cemetery wall at the entrance and you will see a row of large headstones with crosses on. And hereby hangs a tale.
A dear friend of mine, Jenny Burley, had a pathway in her garden made of slabs which needed to be renewed. Imagine her surprise when her son started to dig them up, only to find that they all had large crosses carved into them, but no inscriptions.
Jenny knew that there had been a cemetery in Station Road. Could they be headstones? She felt that they shouldn’t be reused out of respect and that they ought to go somewhere that they would be appreciated. I contacted Ramsey Town Council, and they gave their permission for them to be brought to the cemetery.
We have been researching them but try as we may we have been unable to ascertain with any certainty which denomination the cemetery belonged to, only that it was Non-Conformist. I have spoken to many people about it, including a very helpful gentleman in America, who thought that the cemetery might be for Quakers. He told me that in the past Quaker burials had headstones but no inscriptions. Whether this is the case here, we are unsure, but we continue with our research.
Now came the hard part! How to get them to the chapels. Enter 2 knights in shining armour in the guise of Frank Cannata and Wez Weaver of Franks Ices.
The stones were very heavy and not easy to move. But Frank and Wez lifted them into their van, not the ice cream van, I hasten to add, and brought them down to the cemetery, where Community Payback arranged them along the wall for us. What stars they all are!
We continue to receive photographs, postcards and many other items for our archives. Hardly a week goes by without several new items arriving. Janet Reed has kindly given us this lovely old photograph of Robert Butler, who lived at 51 Newtown Road, Ramsey. Unfortunately, we have no name for the horse, but how smart young Robert looks.
Another item is this postcard of the Church and bridge at Ramsey St. Mary’s when it still had a steeple.
Thank you to everyone for your continued kindness and support, it never fails to amaze us.
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